My grandfather had an amazing set of hand tools in his basement workshop. Many of them were over 50 years old but still looked and operated as good as new. Each tool in his arsenal looked brand new as if it was recently purchased. His tools have lasted throughout the years because he took excellent care of them. It proves that when one puts the effort into taking care of something they value, the natural consequence is an increased lifecycle along with a sense of pride in ownership.
I was reminded of my grandfather’s tool set the other day when I was flying up to the home office for our company’s winter sales meeting. As my plane was taxiing to the gate, we passed by a storage lot full of snow removal equipment- mostly heavy vehicles, unhitched snowplows and other ground support equipment sitting out in an open lot. Many pieces were painted yellow showing signs of serious corrosion with patchy spots of orange and brown rust. Being in the protection and preservation business, I can’t help but wonder how much it costs to replace that equipment when it becomes unusable due to corrosion. Who feels the pain when major maintenance or replacement is required? How much longer would that equipment last if the owners would simply put a protective cover over each piece when not in use during the warmer months of the year? Protecting equipment from being exposed to the sun’s UV rays is half the battle in reducing corrosion.
It seems the need and desire to protect something is usually proportional to the value placed on it? Whether it’s how we take care of our bodies, a relationship with a loved one, our new dream home, or that brand new, high-performance European sports car that we’ve been saving up for over the last decade to buy. Taking ownership and caring for the things we value applies to just about every aspect of our lives.
It’s one thing to have an interest in taking care of the things you own. But what about taking care of property that belongs to other people? What about taking care of valuable property entrusted to us in our professional lives? Isn’t that what good stewardship is all about?
I travel extensively and visit numerous military bases around the world. One thing military units understand is the importance of good stewardship and taking care of expensive equipment entrusted to them by the American taxpayer to accomplish their mission. For example, when boarding a Navy ship, one can’t help but notice the pride in professionalism and a clear sense of good stewardship among the crew. On just about every Navy ship in the active fleet you can find numerous weapons, weapon systems and deck equipment covered with protective covers. That’s because the Navy understands that good stewardship saves time and money, and is also a key to readiness. And when it comes to taking care of the taxpayers’ property, it’s also the right thing to do.